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Pro Wrestling is Like Shark Tank

Guest Post by Eric Gargiulo, Author of The Camel Clutch Blog.

ShowNo Towels Shelly Ehler pro WrestlingIt is no accident that Shark Tank has become my favorite show on television. The show mixes elements from business and pro wrestling to create one of the most unique blends of capitalism and sports entertainment that I have ever seen. The only things missing are the ring robes and entrance music.

As a pro wrestling fan and later writer over the last thirty-years, I don’t know if I have ever quite seen a show as influenced by the genius of Vince McMahon than this one. Shark Tank has all of the elements of a great wrestling show. You have the heels, the heroes, the referees, the soap opera stories, the underdogs, the arrogance, and all of the high spots you’d see every Monday on RAW, Friday nights on Shark Tank.

Even the short videos used to introduce the entrepreneurs are taken right off of a Monday Night RAW or Friday Night SmackDown show. Quite frankly the videos are more telegraphed at times than pro wrestling. The grandma’s ice chips and the Painted Pretzel were both great examples of the pro wrestling underdog or as they like to call it in pro wrestling terms, the baby face.

Sharks are like Pro Wrestling Villains and Heels

Of course for every baby face you need a villain or heel. Kevin O’Leary is the Roddy Piper or Vince McMahon of the show. He is everything you love to hate about snide, rich businessmen. Is Kevin that much of an unkind person of the air? I doubt it. Every smart businessperson needs to bring some charm with them to the negotiating table. Yet once the cameras are on, he plays the role even better than anyone. The rest of the cast is great at feeding into him especially when they refuse to partner with him in investments.

The women are almost stereotypical in their roles. Barbara Corcoran and Lori Greiner generally wear a little bit of their hearts on their sleeves. Sure they can get edgy when need be, but you never see them get vicious. This is very similar to the role a great pro wrestling hero would play. He can cheat and play dirty but he’d never willingly break his or her opponent’s limbs to seek revenge. Winning is the best revenge for him or her.

Mark Cuban has a Career as a Pro Wrestling Announcer

Mark Cuban is the consummate entertainer. Cuban gets it and plays his role better than anyone. Cuban plays immediately into the emotions of the viewer at home. There was no better example than when he tried to find a reason to invest in the PartiePoche business. The way he manipulated that segment was a stroke of pure genius. It was pro wrestling 101 the way he played on everyone’s emotions, establishing the rest of the cast as the heels of the moment, yet realizing that most people at home probably aren’t going to root for these kids. Even better was when he called out the maker of the Esso Watches, again saying what people were thinking at home. Cuban is the John Cena of the program whereas O’Leary is the CM Punk, and it’s not by accident.

Let’s be honest. The show is a circus. Rarely do I see entrepreneurs enter the Shark Tank who are, dare I say, normal. They either have a sob story or are characters made for pro wrestling or in this case a business entertainment show. I have talked to people with great ideas that got turned down for the show while someone with an almost identical pitch walked into the tank. The difference was the person I talked to was rational and professional whereas the bait that walked into the Shark Tank made for better television. That’s why you don’t see bland characters in pro wrestling or the Shark Tank.

I understand that some people take high offense to the Shark Tank because of these theatrics. I think it’s great. It not only gives some of these underdogs a chance, but maybe it gets the viewer at home thinking about pursuing their own dreams they have in their back pockets.

Just remember, duck the clothesline, grab the tights, and work the crowd the next time you walk into the Shark Tank. Tank-A-Mania is running wild!

Eric Gargiulo is the owner and managing editor of The Camel Clutch Blog. Follow him on Twitter at @CamelClutchBlog. Eric is a Pro Wrestling Fan and a HUGE Shark Tank Fan!

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